Packaging is having some fun lately. Nowhere is that more evident than in the Beer, Wine and Spirits sector. Among the growing number of craft producers in these markets are companies fearlessly breaking the mold when it comes to branding, marketing and traditional rules for what goes on a label. Just look at some of the names on craft beers lately and you’ll get the idea. Brands like “Robohop” and “Geriatric Hipster Club” are just a couple, the likes of which you would have never seen or heard of even 15 years ago. So it should come as no surprise these brands want a unique package to go along with their personal style.
Here’s the skinny on what’s hot when it comes to decorating packaging in this arena:
What’s New is Old.., Looking
Appearing old and established is definitely a trend in this sector. Many of these brands are choosing specialty paper stocks to provide a weathered or ‘distressed’ look. Rough finishes are being used to add a tactile aspect to the label, further enhancing consumers’ experience with the package. Specialty label stocks, inks and coatings are all ways to pull off this effect. Vintage and established is the intended message, and the look is a little more subdued and laid back.
Glossy Is Good
At the other end of the spectrum are those brands that want to shout at you from the shelf. They’re looking for attention and a glossier finish on the label is one way to get it. Brands are employing shiny film stocks or high-gloss coatings on paper in eye-catching ways. For instance, high-gloss coatings can be applied to specific areas of the label, in-line while printing, to enhance certain graphics or text elements. The contrast between coated and non-coated areas of the label can add a dramatic aesthetic.
Let’s Get Digital!
Digital printing can be employed to create a different design for a set number of labels within a brand. Each bottle in a six-pack of beer, for instance, could have its own look. Personalization is also possible using digital; think batch numbers for brews and spirits packaging, or regionally-based designs for nationally distributed brands. The goal is to make a more personal connection with individual consumers. Digitally printed shrink-sleeves are being used by craft brewers to decorate generic cans in order to mimic the look of a big brand.
Some bottled brands want the product to do the talking. Super-thin clear film stocks provide the ‘no label look’ many distilled spirits brands are looking for. If you’ve noticed the top shelf vodkas on the market recently you’ll get an idea of what we mean. The clear films of today are so imperceptible it appears all the brand graphics were directly printed to these bottles. Many of these brands are choosing distinctive-looking bottles for their product, and they want a label that will complement that custom look and feel.
Many brands in this sector are run by a new generation of entrepreneurs who are committed to operating in a socially-responsible manner. When it comes to packaging, they are choosing options which align with these values. Paper and film stocks composed of post-consumer recycled materials are a natural in this arena. So are label materials which are thinner and have the ability to be recycled themselves. New materials coming online promise to be either compostable or biodegradable. As this material technology advances it will become a larger part of the packaging strategy.
We understand every product has individual needs. Consider these five trends as general, “scratch-the-surface” guidelines for your projects. We don’t guess about what is working in today’s market – we utilize over 40 years of experience as experts in packaging. We would be happy to take a look at your specific project needs and map out a full strategy for your upcoming product line. Call 612-706-3700 today or drop us a note here at [email protected] for a free consultation.